Comparing the Colonoscopy Prep Process to the 5 Stages of Grief

A Post By: Michael Gallo

On the eve of my colonoscopy, I find myself standing in my kitchen, choking down a dangerous concoction of industrial strength laxatives and Gatorade. The strength of these pills (which I am almost positive are cattle laxatives) makes me seriously question the existence of God. If he’s out there and he loves me…he wouldn’t let these things happen to me.

A little background for those individuals who haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying a colonoscopy: a prep kit is necessary to empty out the intestines and colon so that the doctor can get some clear shots when he puts a camera up your keister. To achieve this level of “clean”, you stop eating 24 hours before your procedure, mix laxative powder into Gatorade, take four pills that aren’t “legally” allowed stateside, and hold on for dear life. I quickly discovered that the colonoscopy prep kit forces a person to suffer through the 5 Stages of Grief. They are as follows:

Denial And Isolation

Denial comes in the form of asking yourself “why hasn’t this kicked in yet? Am I impervious to laxatives?” And isolation comes quickly after when you’ve locked yourself in a dark bathroom with nothing but a lit Yankee candle and some baby wipes. No family…no friends…no one to help. You’re on your own.


The “why me?” question pops up every now and then, but in all seriousness there are people out there who are suffering through much worse (medically speaking). The anger comes more from your own personal actions. “Why did I eat Chinese food from that questionable restaurant the day before the prep process?” “Why is the toilet clogged?” Things like that.


“God, if you make this stop, I promise to never again dress up like a cat and jump out of Mrs. Cavanaugh’s trash can when she’s taking the garbage out. And yeah, I know the last time I did it she went into cardiac arrest, but if she gets out of the hospital and takes her garbage out…I won’t be there.”


There’s nothing cute about this process. There’s nothing fun. Things are coming out of places they should never come out of. I’ve said a few hurtful things to people I love. This isn’t easy. And it’s easy to lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel…which is twilight anesthesia, and a camera in your rear end.


But at the end of the day, the chance that theycould catch something serious early on far outweighs the fact that you have to run to the bathroom every two minut—

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